Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I'm still standing...

Yes, I'm totally singing an Elton John song in my head right now...what's new?

Day ten of single parenting, with five to go. Maybe I'll make it after all. Let's just say the shine has worn off.

The good

  • Sophia is almost completely potty trained.
  • We've managed to do a lot of fun things together that we don't normally get to do.
  • I've been able to spend a lot of extra time writing.
  • We've had a lot of fun movie nights, I've had a few solo movie nights, which was fun.
  • Matthew's coming home on Sunday!
  • We've got plans for almost every day this week so hopefully it will go by fast.
The bad
  • Now that Sophia is mostly potty trained she gets up at 6:30 to go potty. She doesn't go back to sleep. 
  • I'm pretty much losing my mind without Matthew, plain and simple. Last night I went THREE hours without speaking.
  • I think the kids are missing him bad too. Sophia is whinier than usual, and that's saying something.
  • I'm tired. All of the time.
  • And a little crabby.

Monday, June 18, 2012

I take it back...

Earlier this year, around February or so, I complained to my online buddies about how sucky this year was apparently going to be. They assured me that I was overreacting, despite the way things seemed, that there was still room for improvement. Well, I'd like to officially rescind that comment and acknowledge that my friends were right!

True, things haven't exactly worked out the way I had planned, but that's life for you. I'm still published. My book is doing well. I'm averaging about one copy sold a day, which is still something, so I'm happy. I'm ranked in the top #100,000 Kindle books on Amazon. Again, it doesn't sound like much, but it really is. Most self-pubbed books are way down between #200,000 and #300,000! There's still a good chance this thing might take off for me, only time will tell. I definitely have my fingers crossed. My hopes are high because I've heard nothing but good things so far about my book. I really cannot possibly communicate to you how much it means to me to hear that people are enjoying my work. To use a word I don't usually like, it's quite surreal. And it makes me happy. Like, insanely happy.

So yeah, I take it back. 2012 isn't so bad after all. In another month's time my dad will be finished with his cancer treatment, another chapter in life will be behind us, God willing, for good. The kids and I will be making a highly anticipated trip down to Florida to spend some quality time with as much of our family as we can manage. In the Fall I'll self-publish again, this time the follow-up to London Escape. And somewhere in between I'll find the time to finish writing the third book.

For now, I'm grateful 2012 didn't turn out to be nearly as bad as I expected. And I think I've learned my lesson about the ups and downs of life. Or not, I'll probably be complaining again later. ;)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lessons in optimism, what I've learned from my dad...

*Cue corny Father's Day post...and go!

My dad is what you would call an optimist. My mom even calls him an "eternal optimist", so it's no surprise to me that I inherited this positive attitude from him.

(I'm pretty sure I've shared this story before, but bear with me!)
When I was a kid we lived overseas, and one of our favorite things to do as family was to travel. After my dad was stationed at Ramstien AFB in Germany, one of the first big trips we planned was to Paris. Of course everyone was so excited to see this amazing city for the first time and I'm sure my parents had every detail of the trip planned in advance. So it was more than a little disappointing when our first day in Paris dawned rainy, dreary and downright miserable. Now, you can imagine how fun that must have been, my brothers and I were probably around ten, eight and four at the most, and I'm sure we were begging to go back to the nice, dry hotel room within a few minutes. Then suddenly my dad perks up, points to the horizon and says, "Look, over there, it's getting brighter!" Was it? I don't know, probably not. But we were all like, "Okay, it's getting brighter, it's going to stop raining, awesome!" And that pretty much sums up his attitude most of the time. The rest of us have used that line over and over again in the years that have come. Sometimes sarcastically, because sometimes it's not getting brighter, no matter how hard you try to convince yourself. And sometimes truthfully, because sometimes it does get brighter.

Hilarious family photo! Yes, we were going to a baseball game! Yes, it was the 90s!

Now fast forward a few years to 2010, June, just eight weeks after I'd given birth to Sophia. For some insane reason I'd agreed to run a 5K with my dad, though I'm not a runner at all. But at the time it really sounded like fun, seriously! In hindsight it was insanity. I think I made it about fifty feet before my then fifty-year old dad totally took off without me. I wanted to die pretty much every step of the way. Eventually toward the end, my dad had already finished waaayyy ahead of me and actually came back for me. So he jogs up along side of me and starts to tell me to run the last bit. Admittedly, I think I was like "hell no, I'm going to puke" but I managed to pick up my pace a little to a fast walk-run. And so I crossed the finish line, not walking, not on my knees, but running...ish. It was fun, now in retrospect to share that experience. Though I'll never do it again! Again with the optimism, telling me to run when I'd rather lay down on the ground and puke.
Us and our medals.
Anyway, so my last example of optimism isn't the easiest one to write, but I'll give it a shot. Actually it's one subject I've been avoiding writing about lately, despite my penchant for saying exactly what's on my mind all of the time. On January 19th of this year I got the call from my dad. He calls me every Thursday pretty much without fail so I was pretty much blindsided with this call turned out to be the call. You know, the one where he told me he'd been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Yeah, that one. And like any person who's just been told someone they love very much has cancer my gut reaction was not good. In fact it felt a little like downing for a moment. And then the craziest thing of all happened. He assured me everything was going to be fine, he wasn't going to die, and that we'd all get through this. See? Eternal optimist. And just like that, I took a deep breath and thought to myself, "Okay, we'll if he's fine, I can be fine too." And we have been, maybe not all of the time, but we've gotten through alright. Maybe might dad hasn't been perfectly positive the entire time, only he can answer that. But he's certainly maintained that attitude in front of me and my brothers.

My dad and my baby girl.

As a parent myself I can't think of a better lesson to pass onto your kids. To show them how to look on the bright side of things, no matter how dark they seem. Because most of the time, it is getting brighter and how much better do things seem when you realize that?

Happy Father's Day Dad, I love you!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Why London?

The other day was trying to do the math of when I actually started writing London Escape. I'm pretty sure it was January 2011. But I began envisioning the story when Sophia was just a baby. Now, it's not ironic that I decided to write a strong, kick-butt but also normal female character after having my first daughter. I thought about all the things I'd want her to read when she's older. It's also no coincidence that I happened to read a very fabulous book series with one of the best female characters of our time...The Hunger Games.

So I'm not sure how it happened, but I suddenly had a character in my head. Several things were obvious right away...her name was Kit, she had bright red hair, and wore green Converse. Don't ask me how and why those three things were so important, but that was just the beginning of it. I knew basically what I wanted the plot line to be. I wanted the girl to save the boy, for sure! And I knew exactly where it should take place.


Okay, so I clearly have a thing for red-heads...I've always wanted to be one. And after a good dye job I usually am one. The green Converse, I don't know, they made a nice contrast with the red hair in my mind. I didn't wear them at the time, but I do now! And as far as location, well, I sort of have a thing for London too! Don't get me wrong, I love other cities, NYC is great, and living just an hour or so out of the city has been amazing. But I wanted something different for my novel, I wanted the character to be a bit of a jet-setter (despite her protestations!). London it was.

When I was a kid I was a military brat. I was born first in Tacoma Washington, and then my family moved to ....Knob Noster Missouri. Yeah, fun huh? So you can imagine my parent's excitement when my dad's next assignment turned out to be High Wycombe Air Force Base just outside of Marlow, Buckinghamshire, England.

The best thing about moving there? Like our current vicinity to New York, Marlow was just a short train ride away from THE city, London. And so we went, many, many times. So not only do I have a lot of fond, family memories of visiting there, but also it was the first big European city I visited. I think in a way it will always be my favorite.

When it came time to brainstorm for ideas for the cover, my very first thought was that I wanted a London skyline, oh and look what I got! So amazing.

My next two books take place in completely different locations, from the Amazon rain forest in Peru, to the huge metropolis of Hong Kong, China. But I have a feeling we'll soon be revisiting London, one way or another.

Monday, June 11, 2012


So hey, do you want to see an already super-OCD writer go even more overboard OCD? Well, that's basically what happened on Friday when I put my book up for free on Amazon. Now certainly, I expected my mediocre sales to rise somewhat, but I never expected them to rise quite as high as they did. If you follow me on Twitter, or are friends with me on Facebook, then you know firsthand how cray cray it got.

Let me start at the beginning. When you sign up with Amazon's publishing "house" - KDP, you have to agree to be exclusively on Amazon for ninety days. In exchange for this they put your book in the Kindle lending library, meaning if people have Prime, they can borrow and read for free. Also, they give you five free promotional days where you can put your book up for free to gain publicity.

After my book had been officially released for a week I sold about thirty-seven copies, not too shabby! My free promotion went live at midnight on Thursday night. On Friday morning I woke up at seven-thirty and checked my sales, already I was at 34 downloads, I couldn't believe it. I was bascially glued to my computer the rest of the morning, watching the number rise everytime I hit refresh. I knew I couldn't do that all day, or could I? So I took the kids to the beach for about two hours. When I came back my number had doubled from 90 to 180! Then I started to notice something very interesting. I was ranked. (You know I've talked about my sales rankings a lot. Well, this was free rankings, but still.) I started out around #1,100 and something. Then I hit the charts. By early afternoon I was ranked on both the children's action/adventure (Free) lists, and the regualar action/adventure list. I did make an appearance on the YA lists as well, but never the top twenty.

Around early evening was when I really peaked. I think my sales ranking hit #473, on the childrens action/adventure I made it as high as #5

Oh hi, that's my novel, right across from THE HUNGER GAMES! Of course, the list on the right is free, the one on the left is paid. Big difference, but still, there I am! I also peaked on the adult action/adventure around #11. As far as I know at least. Around eleven that night I did go to bed, so I could have reached higher, since he promo day went on until midnight on the West Coast. By morning I had my final tally, 614 downloads, which is insane, right? I keep telling myself, yes, it was free, of course you gave away so many. But I can't help but hope and think that the reason that number is so high is because my book is awesome!

The best part so far? Besides a gazillion people reading my book and besides seeing all my friends totally spam facebook for me? Well, the feedback. I've heard nothing but good things so far. Even from people I don't know! You can't beat that. I'm sure the negative reviews will come, but hopefully they'll only be complaining about my lack of vampires or something...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thank you, thank you, thank you...

Have I mentioned how much fun I am having with all this lately? Way too much. Matthew actually banned me from the computer this morning, with good reason, but I'll get to that next.

What's my favorite part so far of being a published author? Reviews! I loooove reviews. Yes most of them are from people I know personally, but they are the kind of friends that would just write me a good review to be nice. I'm up to five reviews on Amazon already, four fives and one four. It's amazing! I'm convinced that nothing will help me become a moderately successful self-published author more than good reviews!

Here's a few of my favorite quotes from my wonderful reviewers!

From Lindsay, "The lead character, Kit, is relatable, brave, and a good friend."

From Jenn, "It is gripping and entertaining and you will not want to put it down until the very last word."

From Lara, "It was a breath of fresh air compared to most young adult novels that are currently circulating."

So yeah, good stuff people! 

London Escape will be FREE all day today until midnight as my way of saying thanks to everyone who bought and reviewed so far. So go ahead and recommend to your friends! And thank you for the support.

(PS my book has been free since midnight last night and it's already sold 60 copies!)

(Update, it's not even nine o' clock, but all my combined sales; sold units, loaned units through Prime and free promotional units I've hit the 100 mark!)

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Don't you love a good statistic? I do. Which is why I'm super happy that Amazon is providing me with up-to-date information on how my book is selling.

Well, first there's just general sales. I sold 21 copies on my first day. Woo hoo! Thanks to help of many of my friends who spammed Facebook for me on that fateful day! Since then my sales have tapered off a bit. My current total stands at 37 copies sold. I guess that's not too bad at all for five days, right?

Besides sales total, there's a lovely page listing my royalties, ha, now that one is not nearly so interesting to me. Since I don't see a dime for sixty days after the purchase. No big payday yet. But that's okay!

Now on my actual page where you can purchase my book, there's a little thing called "Amazon Sales Ranking". I was a bit bummed out when I saw my peak was somewhere around #15,000. Yes, fifteen THOUSAND. But as it turned out, that's quite good. I looked at tons of self-pubbed e-book yesterday and some of them fell around the one MILLION mark, or at least in the 250,000 range. I'm currently down to #43,000 or something like that, but hopefully I will rise again.

It's been an interesting process so far. I waver between being completely thrilled and overjoyed, like when I read another five star review (okay I only have THREE). To being more than a little discouraged. I mean, there are so many books out there, how can mine ever possibly rise to the top without a "real" publisher? I don't know, all I can do is hope!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

London Escape...the soundtrack!

Ha ha, just kidding. Well, as you already know I love music. I'm almost always listening to something while I write and edit. So it wasn't hard at all to come up with a playlist to correspond to London Escape. In fact, many of the songs I had on constant repeat for the many months I was writing. Here it is!

London Escape by CaceyHopper on Grooveshark

There are sixteen songs, one for each chapter and in my opinion some are better fits than others. My favorites are When They Come for me (Chapter 11) and Iridescent (Chapter 16). Hope you enjoy!

PS a few of the Linkin Park songs are not "clean" so if you're not into that sort of thing, you might want to skip it! Sorry!

Monday, June 4, 2012

So yeah, that happened...

I'm officially a published author. Well, sorta kinda. Is it technicalilty? I suppose. Nonetheless, if you go to Amazon right now (which I've done about a million times since Friday) and type in my name....guess what comes up?? Oh something that sort of looks like this...

And beside it there's some stuff about the author, you know...ME! Anyway I'm really excited, obviously. And yes the book was supposed to be released tomorrow. It's kind of a long story, but Friday morning I woke up to find my amazing cover art in my inbox, which a good friend of mine was able to do for me. That was kind of the last thing I needed to do before publishing. So I went to my Amazon account to look over my publishing details one last time and set everything for Tuesday's release. Then I read the fine print, which said that it can take 12-48 hours for your e-book to be reviewed and approved before it would go "live" on Amazon. And even then it could take 72 hours for full details to show up. (Case in point, the "look inside" feature just now became available.) So I of course decided to go ahead and get the ball rolling. Just in case. I figured if it launched early I could just keep it under wraps until Tuesday. You know, some days it's like I don't even know myself!

I did this around three pm, on Friday. By four-ish it had been approved and my status went from "under review" to "publishing". I checked it again around eight after getting in from Elijah's baseball game and saw my status was "live". Immediately I went and did an Amazon search for London Escape. It's not the first thing that comes up, even in the Kindle store, but there it was. My baby. I then immediately went to my Kindle store on my own Kindle just to see it again and bought it! Yes, I bought the very first official copy of my own novel. I am the world's biggest dork.

By Saturday morning the news broke anyway, through someone else and though I tried to do a little damage control I realized it was pointless and silly. So that's how it happened! And it's been a fun ride so far. I'm overwhelmed by how much my friends and family are going out of their way to promote my book. So far I've sold around 25 copies which is a good start, I think. And for the first time in errr...seven years, I'm actually contributing to the family's income!

I suspect my next few posts this week will be focused on London Escape and The Halcyon Legacy, since this is just the beginning of a long and fun ride. I promised to post my book playlist, so that will probably be tomorrow!

Friday, June 1, 2012

A little help from my friends...

So, this coming Tuesday, June 5th, is the big day! The one I've been waiting for ever since I began writing my very first young adult novel, London Escape. I'll be published! Well yes, that's a bit of a technicality, but it's still something. For one thing, when I began writing my goal was to get published. But really more than anything I just wanted to be able to share my stories with people and have them enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them. I may not make a gazillion dollars (I'm making about two bucks a pop, seriously!), but that has never been my ambition anyway.

So here's the deal, because I'm self-publishing I'm completely on my own when it comes to getting my book out there. Which means I need you, yes YOU! If you're reading this, then you probably already know me, you're probably my friend, and as my friend you want to see me succeed in this endeavor don't you? That's what I thought! Here are a few things you can do to help me get my name, and my book out there to the public.

1.) Read my book! It's great I promise. It is well-written and well-edited. It is meant for young adults, of course, but we all know that doesn't mean the story is limited to teens. Most of my friends who have loved it are grown-ups! It will only be available in e-book form, via Amazon, which means it's exclusive to Kindle. Don't have a Kindle? Don't worry! There's an app for that! Amazon offers a variety of reading app downloads which will help you buy and access regular Kindle books. Follow this link for the complete list!

2.) If you are reading my books, mark it on Goodreads (it's not up on Goodreads yet, but I'll be adding it as soon as I publish). Post it on your Facebook page. Tweet it! Blog about it! Tell your mama! Tell your friends. That's all I ask. Ha ha, not too hard, right?

3.) If you read it and like it, review it! You don't have to give me a perfect five stars! Just kidding if  you don't I will hunt you down... Review on Goodreads too!

But wait, there's more! London Escape is just the first book in my series, The Halcyon Legacy. Which means there's a lot more where it came from! The second book, Finding Sanctuary is already fully written and slated for release in the Fall of 2012. So if you love the first you won't have to wait long for the follow-up. AND there's a tiny sneak peak of Finding Sanctuary at the end of London Escape.

And finally, I have to say thank you. Thank you if you do any of this for me, thank you for believing and keeping up with my crazy journey. I am beyond excited to have my work out there for the first time in my life. My dream has always been to share fun and exciting stories that every single person can enjoy, and I hope that I have done that.

PS, this isn't the end for me. Someday I'll be published and on the shelves for real, I know. Besides, Amazon does have their own publishing house, if my Kindle book sells enough copies (like a million!) Amazon will print my book. They've done it before for other indie authors. So who knows!

Thanks again!

Cacey Hopper
Author of London Escape

Oh yes I did!